Swerve and Protect: Boston’s Bicycle Bible

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In this month’s issue of the Boston Phoenix, a 20 page supplement called the Bicycle Bible offers advice on bicycle safety and how to stay alive on the streets of Boston. Although there is a nice piece on Boston’s Livable Streets Alliance, the paper may have done more harm than good. With subtitles like "Urban Bikers Need to be Careful, Prepared, and Paranoid" and "Biking on the Defensive," bike commuting is presented as a fringe activity for people with an urban death wish.

There is no shortage of hazards for urban bikers, and any one of them can send you flying. Mike Budka, who has been biking in Boston for about two decades, told his oldest son, "Just behave as if everyone is trying to kill you, and you’ll be fine."

Actually, that might not be such bad advice. And, given what happened to a cyclist in clean and peaceful Toronto the other day — he was beaten by an off duty cop for slowing down at a yellow light — there might be something to the "Biking on the Defensive" angle. But, hey, what about the Joy of Cycling, Boston Phoenix? It’s not all bad out there.

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